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Health Care and Child Care Policies: Barriers or Opportunities for Farm Transitions?

02-Jan-2021 |  Asked by: Pavan

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The needs of the farm family change along the life cycle. At first glance, institutional theories of workforce development do not appear to fit with farm policy, but, in fact, health care and child care needs may limit both the ability of new farmers to enter agriculture and the ability to exist farm families to grow or even maintain viability.
Health Insurance
Health care costs have been cited as a significant problem for farmers. Studies consistently show farmers purchasing private insurance pay more than those obtaining benefits through an off-farm job. The Health Insurance Survey of Farm and Ranch Operators in the Midwest found that, while most respondents had health insurance, one in five had outstanding debt from medical bills with one in four reporting health care expenses contributed to their financial problems. Insurance costs and high rates of underinsured farmers can have severe consequences for farm productivity, welfare, and transitions. Farmers tend to be cash poor and land-rich, and transfer experts note that farmers are reluctant to transfer their land to a new generation for fear of giving up any assets that can be used for retirement and future medical costs.
Future Policy and Research Directions
The persistence and growth of agriculture are partially dependent on policy and community environments that can provide the social and economic infrastructure farm families need (Sureshwaran and Ritchie, 2011). A responsive policy environment must include the social and cultural factors that influence farm economics and farm structure. There is a need to develop farm transition policies and technical assistance programs that are aligned with the values and needs of different types of farmers and their households.

   09-Jan-2021 |   Answer by: Ram

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